Hunger strikers in Chicago are fighting the relocation of a metal shredding facility from a white North Side neighborhood to a predominantly Black and Latinx community on the Southeast Side already plagued by numerous polluting industries. Tomorrow the three original hunger strikers, Oscar Sanchez, Breanna Bertacchi and Chuck Stark will complete their fourth week without food. “It is immoral, it is discriminatory and we cannot allow [this plant to operate] in a pandemic when we can prevent it,” Byron Sigcho-Lopez, the 25th ward alderman who has joined the hunger strike for “as long as it’s needed,” told the Guardian.
The U.S. EPA suspended its environmental justice investigation into whether Illinois discriminated against the predominantly Black and Latinx Southeast Side community after the Illinois EPA began “informal resolution agreement discussions,” Block Club Chicago reported. Last month, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfood also sought guidance from federal regulators and appears to be hoping the Biden administration will make the call over whether the scrap yard can be moved to the Southeast Side, according to the Chicago Tribune. (Block Club Chicago, The Guardian, Grist)